What’s for dinner?

Is it, technically, wrong to make a meal out of potato pancakes? I know it’s traditional for Rosh Hashana and all, but we’re not Jewish, and when you think about it, basically it amounts to eating french fries. For dinner.

Oh, well. I remember when sometimes dinner consisted of three beers and a peanut-butter sandwich. Sometimes it was peanut butter three nights in a row. Ah, poverty. In my earliest salad days, I would cash my paycheck on Friday and ask the teller for $5 in quarters. I would put these in a decorative purse that hung on the wall of my apartment. Every morning, I’d take four quarters with me; this was bus fare at 50 cents each way. No matter how tight money got by the end of the week — and it always got tight — at least I’d be able to get to work. Payday was Friday.

I hadn’t been at my first job long when a new vice president was hired. One of his first acts was to significantly boost newsroom salaries, to head off any union activity at the pass. My salary went up 30 percent in a year or two; suddenly, I didn’t have to hoard my $5 in quarters. I could buy a round of beers. I could go on vacation and have a savings account. I didn’t have to live on peanut butter from Wednesday through Friday.

In other words, without even meeting him, he had a significant beneficial effect on my life. He only stayed at the paper a few years before his career took him to bigger and better things. Earlier this summer he was charged with possession of child pornography. One more turn of the wheel.

OK, then.

Not much happened today; can you tell? The high point was when I found my watch, missing for five days. I’d looked everywhere — under every bed, behind every table, at every place I could have possibly taken it off. I checked in all my pants pockets, in bags I might have touched. I was thisclose to putting an ad in the paper, on the chance it might have fallen off my wrist during a bike ride and ended up on the street somewhere. I knew this would be a waste; there’s no way I could have lost it that way without noticing but hey — it was stone gone.

Today it turned up in the basement, in a wad of dirty laundry. No. Idea. How it got there. Of course I wondered if this was the beginning of Alzheimer’s, if the next step will be putting the sugar in the refrigerator and going out for milk, ending up in North Dakota.

If so, I’ll let you know.

This entry may be the first, distant warning sign, eh?

So, then, bloggage:

I have staunchly avoided having an opinion about Cindy Sheehan. I just…don’t have one, except this: Women whose sons are killed on the battlefield get a free pass from me. If they want to dye their hair purple or start wearing push-up bras or write 1,500-page screeds or go straight Job — shaving their head with a potsherd and sitting in the dust? Fine with me. And I don’t care if she got arrested for mooning the Pope, until the frat houses are emptying and the College Republicans hanging out a sign that says, “closed for staff shortages due to enlistment,” no one else gets to say anything about her to me, either.

Yep, she appears to have gone a little cuckoo. What would you do?

Would you believe there’s a swingers’ club in Fort Wayne, Indiana? There is. The bad news: Check out that wallpaper.

Posted at 9:23 pm in Uncategorized |

29 responses to “What’s for dinner?”

  1. basset said on September 26, 2005 at 11:40 pm

    Five dollars in quarters? At my second job in TV… a real exercise in humility, the only UHF station in a small market, housed in half of an abandoned Kroger store with junk storage in the rest… the station would be deserted two minutes after paychecks were handed out, while we all ran to the bank to get cash before the checks bounced.

    Not that there was all that MUCH cash; I remember volunteering to be an extra in a commercial for a pizza place just because we got to eat the pizza during the shoot.

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  2. brian stouder said on September 27, 2005 at 12:25 am

    The swingers club in Fort Wayne bit gave me my laugh of the day! One look at the wallpaper should make anyone run for the exit!

    Plus – the abandoned IH plant?! My Lord! – if you got your swingin’ clothes on, and caught your swingin’ spouse in a swingin’ mood, and THEN had to get in the car and swing on down to the industrial (and somewhat depressing) east-end of town – would you STILL be in that swingin’ state of mind?

    See – I’m thinkin’ we’re talkin guys in their 50’s and 60s with blue tongues and seriously medicated ‘wives’…..The News-Sentinel really oughta put somebody onto this

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  3. mary said on September 27, 2005 at 1:57 am

    When I first moved to NYC and had a crappy job I used to buy my weeks worth of subway tokens first, spend the rest of my money later. Same theory as your quarters, but I couldn’t spend my tokens on anything other than transportation. Instead of peanut butter, I used to buy a bowl of rice and beans for 75 cents at the Cuban food stand. If I felt rich, I’d get a sliced avocado to go with it.

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  4. mary said on September 27, 2005 at 2:03 am

    I looked at the wallpaper. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt sexy enough to get down to it in a room that looked like that. Are those fairies on the walls?

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  5. Dorothy said on September 27, 2005 at 5:46 am

    Where in God’s name would ya FIND wallpaper that gaudy?! Sheesh!

    I’m with Mary – I think I’d have to blindfolded to “get down to it”, as she so aptly put it, in that room. Then again, maybe that’s the reason for the paper…

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  6. Carmella said on September 27, 2005 at 8:49 am

    I had an early alzheimers scare…I got the grocery list and ‘batteries’ were written on it. We have tons of batteries..I asked my husband if he wrote it, he said no….I said, “………hey…this is MY handwriting….” Why would I have written that, then FORGOTTEN writing it? And there is no clue in the order on the list, its right under cottonballs…??

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  7. brian stouder said on September 27, 2005 at 9:16 am

    Carmella – maybe it’s your penmanship, and/or just when you were writing the item, the radio or teevee was blathering about another item, which you then wrote down.

    Maybe you wanted pancake batter and cake batter, and the energizer bunny came on just as you intended to write ‘batters’…or you needed butter…or maybe it was supposed to be ‘berries’ or you wanted to pick up some bitters, or….

    (see – you can rationalize this stuff away!)

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  8. Carmella said on September 27, 2005 at 9:41 am

    ….bless you, Brian…. That makes all the sense in the world!!!! I’m goin’ with THAT!!

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  9. Claire said on September 27, 2005 at 9:58 am

    Nance, have you written a book or do you plan to someday? I would read a book written by you in a heartbeat. I just love reading your blog (and the comments). When I read your words, view the pictures (um, except for that swinger’s facility), I get this earthy, grounded feeling, like I’ve come home. Oh this might sound a bit cheesy, but that’s how I feel.

    Isn’t it ironic that both peanut-butter sandwiches (in moderation) and rice and beans are healthy meals – probably more so than many fancy, expensive meals? I need to eat more rice and beans these days (I still eat – probably too many – pb&j’s).

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  10. Dorothy said on September 27, 2005 at 10:35 am

    I’m just a PB gal – PB on wheat bread is heaven. With a tall glass of milk (to wash away the sticky stuff on the roof of my mouth!)

    I second Claire’s sentiments. Sign me up for a copy from the first run!

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  11. John said on September 27, 2005 at 11:03 am

    I want a signed first edition of Nancy’s book…especially if she uses this for the jacket photo:


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  12. Nance said on September 27, 2005 at 11:14 am

    That was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead.

    The boring soccer mom living within her lives, however.

    The girl in the foreground did a similar turnaround. Somewhere there exists a photo of her with a lampshade on her head, trying to stick a tampon up someone’s nose. Today she has two teenagers who look just like her, a nice husband, a house in the suburbs and a lot of beautiful memories.

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  13. ashley said on September 27, 2005 at 11:42 am

    …Excitable Girl, they all said.

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  14. brian stouder said on September 27, 2005 at 12:04 pm

    “Today she has two teenagers who look just like her, a nice husband, a house in the suburbs and a lot of beautiful memories.”

    On Wisteria Lane, no doubt!

    It was impressive to see your unimpaired balance, though – as you appear to be perched atop the edge of the boat

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  15. mary said on September 27, 2005 at 12:24 pm

    Gunwales are designed for easy balancing while drunk. I’ve seen this demonstrated many times. On the off chance one does fall in, the landing isn’t bad. An exception to this would be the case of the late Beachboy, Dennis Wilson.

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  16. Loulou said on September 27, 2005 at 12:27 pm

    I used to do the quarters thing too, but if I walked one way to college I could buy a paper, otherwise, no. There was a man in my life at the time who’d come visitfrom another state and I’d run out and spend $5 [$5!!] on a bunch of tiny roses to make the place look “pretty”. It took me a long time to figure out that he thought this was par for the course. But that was 20 bus rides, or 20 newspapers, or 10 of each.// I,also,wrote a shopping/errand list with “d/c” on it and couldn’t for the life of me figure it out. It meant “drycleaning”.

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  17. brian stouder said on September 27, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    reminds me of the scene in The Odd Couple – where Oscar says something like “Your note said ‘went to get a few things at the store – I’ll be back by 6 – F U’ and it took me 20 minutes to figure out that meant Felix Unger”

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  18. alex said on September 27, 2005 at 2:54 pm

    Brian, I still do double takes here in the law office where I work–not at the legalese but the shorthand. Lots of notes to do “f/u calls” to opposing counsel, which most of the time ought to be just what it looks like.

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  19. mary said on September 27, 2005 at 2:56 pm


    I get f//u emails all the time, and it never registers as “follow up” on the first reading.

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  20. Laura said on September 27, 2005 at 4:05 pm


    Just to clarify re: potato pancakes: right religion, wrong holiday. Latkes are a Hannukah thang; apples and honey are for Rosh Hashana.

    Count on me as your (WASP-y)source for all things Jewish.

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  21. Nance said on September 27, 2005 at 4:11 pm

    Laura, of course you’re right. But then, as the wise rabbi always says, “You need an excuse to eat latkes? I raised a fool!”

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  22. Laura said on September 27, 2005 at 4:19 pm

    You just know I was the kid who raised her hand when the teacher forgot to assign homework.

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  23. Dorothy said on September 27, 2005 at 5:02 pm

    Have we had enough stories about letters and what they stand for? Just in case anyone is dying for one more:

    I’m married to a guy whose initials are MFM. You KNOW what abuse he got about that all through school. What kind of parents give their son the initials “M. F.”??

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  24. brian stouder said on September 27, 2005 at 5:26 pm

    “What kind of parents give their son the initials “M. F.”??

    Mark Fuhrman – but in his case, ‘salright.

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  25. basset said on September 27, 2005 at 6:01 pm

    and in a former truck factory with awful wallpaper MFM has a whole ‘nother context.

    no, that’s not how I know. stop that.

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  26. ashley said on September 27, 2005 at 6:12 pm

    Bad joke alert:

    That picture reminds me of a really bad old joke.

    What kind of wood doesn’t float? Natalie Wood.

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  27. mary said on September 27, 2005 at 6:24 pm

    Bad joke number 2, from my friend Gail:

    Donald Rumsfeld is giving the President his daily briefing.

    He concludes by saying, “Yesterday, three Brazilian soldiers were killed.”

    “OH NO!” the President exclaims, “that’s terrible!”

    His staff sits around, stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

    Finally, the President looks up and asks, “How many is a brazillion?”

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  28. joodyb said on September 27, 2005 at 8:52 pm

    latkes should have their own holiday, for all that trouble. but so worth it.

    (4 the record, fandom lore has it poor broke loser Dennis in the end made a hobby of diving {drunk, from a friend’s boat} for the s— he’d thrown off his own repossessed vessel years before and, at last, did not come back up…)

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  29. Dorothy said on September 27, 2005 at 10:14 pm

    OMG Mary – a co-worker e-mailed me a variation of that same joke today! But it was just a conversation with a blonde, not George Bush. (I know a “Gail” at my office, too, but it wasn’t from her – it was Amy.)

    Personal record for me – total of 4 entries in one day in the comments section of Nance’s blog. Wowza!

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